Bison Wool? Bison Down? That’s a thing? Well it’s being used by United By Blue,
who started salvaging otherwise wasted bison fibers, and is now incorporating them into a growing range of products. So we talked with Brendan Raugh at United By Blue about how the company was founded as a waterway cleanup company; how they went on to develop an entire line of apparel around salvaged bison coat fibers; how bison fibers compare to sheep’s wool and goose down; and more.
Full Tilt ski boots are beloved by some (including the likes of Bode Miller, Tom Wallisch, Seth Morrison, and Sammy Carlson), but they get pigeonholed by others who think of them as only being for park rats. So we talk to Austin Peters, the Ski Boot Engineering Manager for Full Tilt and K2 Ski Boots, about the history of Full Tilt; what makes them unique; why you might opt for a Full Tilt over an overlap boot; and what’s new for 20/21.
Picture Organic Clothing is going way beyond common sustainability practices with things like castor bean oil waterproof membranes and sugar cane waste-derived polyester, and they are attempting to eliminate polybags from their entire supply chain. So we talked to Picture’s co-founder, Julien Durant, and their sustainability manager, Florian Palluel about these ambitious projects — including their new air-permeable membrane, Xpore, that they are putting in direction competition with Gore Pro and TNF Futurelight.
Luke Koppa, Kristin Sinnott, and Jonathan Ellsworth discuss some of the new skis, boots, and apparel they’ve been testing, including products from K2, Blizzard, Nordica, Rossignol, WNDR Alpine, Atomic, Dynastar, & more. We also discuss what skis we prefer for off-piste, icy conditions; the merits of slim-fit ski pants; which ski boots are best described as “donkeys”; and more.
We talk with Graham Lonetto, the Alpine Director for the USA at Swix — the company that invented color-coded waxes, and one of the largest manufacturers of ski wax in the world — about different types of waxes and application methods; the most common mistake made when ski waxing; the FIS’s ban on fluorocarbons in waxes; and more.
Ski boot liners are probably the most overlooked and least appreciated piece of ski gear out there, but they are a critical piece of equipment. So Matt Manser, the product manager of Atomic Ski Boots, is back to demystify the extremely complex, very expensive, and poorly understood category of ski boot liners. Along the way, we also discuss Atomic’s new “Mimic” liner technology and the new-for-next-season Hawx Prime XTD.
Sam Shaheen was recently testing the new SCOTT Superguide Freetour in the Italian Alps, so in our latest GEAR:30, he talks with SCOTT about their new ski, their new touring boot, the history of SCOTT, and more.
Patagonia’s Glen Morden (Product Innovation, Materials, & Development) and Corey Simpson (Communications) came to Crested Butte to ski with us and to discuss how Patagonia is thinking about sustainability and product performance; how they continue to evolve on this front; talk about a few of their new pieces; their prototyping process; and more.
In part 2 of our conversation with SCARPA CEO, Kim Miller, Kim offers his predictions for the ski industry and how SCARPA is positioning itself for the future; discusses which materials they use in their boots and why; shares the lessons learned from the Maestrale 2017 recall; and unveils a brand-new boot, the F1 LT.
On our latest episode of GEAR:30, we talk to Lange’s Global Brand Director, Thor Verdonk, about Lange’s use of “dual core” technology; why “ski boots should be alive”; the brand-new, 3rd generation, Lange “XT3”; heat-moldable shells; 3d printed boots; the future of Lange; and more.
What will ski gear look like 10 years from now? What gear has the most room for improvement? What gear will *actually* change the most, and what will change the least? And what are our wildest gear predictions for where gear could be in 10 years? We discuss all of this and more.
We catch up with reviewer, Paul Forward, about some of the skis, AT boots, and an AT binding that Paul has been spending time on in Girdwood, Alaska. Paul and Jonathan Ellsworth discuss the Volkl Mantra 102; the DPS Koala 119; the new Atomic Backland Carbon AT boot; the Fritschi Xenic lightweight touring binding; and more.
This week, Sam Shaheen visited SCARPA’s North American headquarters to talk with SCARPA’s CEO, Kim Miller. Here in Part 1 of the conversation, they discuss Kim’s impressive career in the outdoor industry; SCARPA’s philosophy of ski boot design; their position within the market; the specifics of the new Maestrale XT; Kim’s thoughts on boot/binding compatibility; and more.
Last week on GEAR:30, Sam Shaheen, Luke Koppa, and I addressed some of the questions you have been asking us about ski quivers, and we also discussed the topic of the one-boot quiver. And now, we are running part 2 of this conversation with our reviewers Kristin Sinnott, Sascha Anastas, and Kara Williard.
We’ve been thinking and talking a lot recently about ski quivers, and posted our reviewers’ personal selections for their 5-ski, 4-ski, 3-ski, 2-ski, and 1-ski quivers. And now on our latest episodes of GEAR:30 we discuss some of your related questions; what our biggest takeaways are; the dreaded 1-boot quiver; and more.
DWRs — or “Durable Water Repellent” coatings — play an enormous role in the performance of your outdoor gear, and are used on nearly every waterproof garment on the market. But most DWRs are made with chemicals called PFCs, which can be harmful to you and the environment. Nikwax, however, has never made any of their specialized cleaning, conditioning, or waterproofing products with PFCs. So we talked with Heidi Allen from Nikwax about how DWRs work; the dangers of PFCs; how the industry is attempting to shift away from PFCs; garment care; and more.
We talk to Moment Skis CEO, Luke Jacobson, about Moment’s entire “Commander” series; why we still need to do a better job educating skiers; how the Deathwish got its name; the history of the Bibby and the Blister Pro; some upcoming changes to the Blister Pro; and more.
The North Face is attempting to do something that many have tried, but few have succeeded: compete head-to-head with Gore-Tex in the waterproof / breathable fabric category. So we talked with Scott Mellin, the Global General Manager of Mountain Sports at The North Face, about their new fabric technology, Futurelight, the ideas behind it; what sets it apart in the waterproof / breathable fabric market; sustainability practices related to Futurelight; some stories from athlete testing, and much more.
On our latest “Reviewing the Reviewer” episode of GEAR:30, Jonathan Ellsworth talks to our mountain bike reviewer, David Golay, about how he went from playing sports in upstate New York, to researching metal alloys in Australia, to reviewing for BLISTER, and he shares a great story starring Jed Yeiser (of previous Blister podcast episodes fame).
Today, Marker unveiled their brand-new Duke PT binding, so we discuss the new binding and where it fits with respect to the Shift MNC and CAST Freetour System; some big new changes at GORE; the new GORE-TEX Pro vs. The North Face Futurelight; the appalling behavior of backcountry.com; several new skis from Moment, Blizzard, and Prior; and more.
Gore-Tex has been the leader in waterproof fabrics for decades, and today, they’re announcing a complete overhaul of their flagship fabric, Gore-Tex Pro. So this week we went to Banff, Alberta, and sat down with the category manager of Gore’s “Pro” line, Mark McKinnie, for an in-depth discussion about the new fabrics. We talk about what makes the new Gore Pro unique; the 3 different versions of Gore Pro; Gore’s intensive validation and field-testing processes; how the new ‘Pro’ fits into Gore’s sustainability goals; and much more.
How do the world’s elite ski racers and their technicians squeeze every drop of performance out of their skis? We sat down with Cameron Smith who runs the race department for Head USA to learn about all the major aspects of ski tuning including base vs edge angles, base prep, and waxing. We also discuss why World Cup racers have 50 skis per discipline; the elusive “speed wagon”; and the delicate balance of science and superstition in ski racing.
We answer a bunch of the questions you submitted, then assess some of the product reviews from several of the other ski review publications — and one gear recommendation website.
We just released our new 19/20 BLISTER Winter Buyer’s Guide, and given that it’s over 200 pages long, there’s a lot to talk about. So we’re going to have a 2-part conversation about the Guide, and here in part 1, we’re going to discuss some of our Blister “Best Of” selections; and some of the products that just missed the cut; some general trends and takeaways from putting this big book together, and we find out the real reason why Luke prefers mittens to gloves.
Luke Koppa and Sam Shaheen pose questions & rate the answers of Blister founder, Jonathan Ellsworth, about being charged by a bear; nearly burning his house down; teaching philosophy; his favorite gear in the world; and (of course) the things he’s better at than Sam Shaheen.
We’ve been working on a special project with Folsom Skis, and it’s finally time to discuss the details with Folsom’s Mike McCabe. We also talk about Folsom’s (insane?) new plan to build and deliver custom skis in 2-3 days; go over a few highlights from the 19/20 Folsom lineup; and we ask Mike how much of a nightmare it was to work with us on this project.